Brewing TV Road Trip!

The Brewing TV crew flew down to So-Cal to have a brew day with beer geek, and all around good guy, Wil Wheaton. We wanted to brew a wicked triple IPA, a true Californian creation. The team shot such a huge amount of video and great conversation that we have broken it down into a few segments for you to enjoy. Watch Part 1 of this home brewing session where we start the brew and talk beer, equipment and southern California craft brewing with Wil. Then stay tuned in for Part 2 and the post brew tasting and beer talk.

Brew, Share, Enjoy!

Short Pours content worth reading for brewers everywhere
Short Pours Kegerator

Kegerators come in all shapes and sizes… it’s more fun if you build your own!

Let’s face it. Regardless of how long you’ve been brewing, bottling your beer is a tedious process. Washing, filling, and capping dozens of bottles makes for a very long day.

That’s why many of us eventually decide to start kegging our homebrew. Soda kegs are easy to clean and sanitize. Plus, they protect your beer from light and keep it fresh longer.

Kegs require a refrigerator though. Not everyone has the space for a dedicated fridge. But if you’re already storing cases of bottles, a small fridge might be the answer. There are many commercial kegerators available that make that easy.

But where’s the fun in that? You make your own beer. Surely you can make a custom kegerator!

One solution is a small dorm fridge. Using off-the-shelf parts and household tools, you can easily convert a 5 cubic foot fridge into a kegerator for a fraction of the cost of a commercial unit. This is a great solution for those who have limited space and only a couple of batches to serve at one time.

A small kegerator like this can fit just about anywhere. You could even build it directly into your home bar or brew cave. The customization options are endless. Besides, when you open up your homemade kegerator and reveal gleaming stainless-steel kegs of your own beer, your friends will know you’re serious. They’ll likely remember that beer and how you served it!

Here are a few tips that can help in your build.

  1. Use Keg Lube on all the keg seals. It will help prevent CO2 leaks and prolong the life of the o-rings, especially on the posts.
  2. Before you drill into a small refrigerator, locate the cooling lines. Not only for your own safety, but to keep from disabling the fridge permanently.
  3. Add an extra gas line. That way you have a spare CO2 supply for purging oxygen from carboys or kegs. And, you’ll be able to attach a bottle filler when you need to.
  4. Full kegs are heavy. Make sure you can lift one into your chosen kegerator. If not, consider an upright model or 2.5 or 3 gallon kegs.
  5. A wireless weather thermometer is an easy way to monitor the inside temperature, even from a short distance away.

Happy kegging!

 

Kegerator King Kit

Tap Handles

Bjorn Berg, Brewmaster

I’m very proud of the work Northern Brewer has done to help people make better beer at home. In 1995 I published the first edition of the Northern Brewer catalog. This catalog has since become the most famous showcase of brewing products in the industry. The Northern Brewer Homebrew Forum launched in 1997 and became a hugely popular place for homebrewers to get their brewing questions answered in near real-time. More recently, I created BrewingTV with a mission to create unique and fun videos about the culture of homebrewing. It is Northern Brewer’s mission to help you make the best possible beer.
That’s why we are so fond of saying,“We won’t rest until you brew your best.”

Road Trip! Brewing TV invites you to kick back and nerd out with Brad and Nick as they trek to Wil Wheaton’s house for the perfect open-air brew day in sunny SoCal. Watch this teaser trailer for the upcoming episode to hear behind-the-scenes details about what hooked Will on brewing and what keeps him coming back. Plus, the boys are turning Pliny the Younger’s hop profile up to 11. Tune in for a sneak peek, then watch for the full episode on Brewing TV, coming soon.

Homebrew Hack #4 – Fight the Glug!
As much as we love standing at a sink, wasting the day away while the water in our carboy is glug-glug-glugging down the drain, Corey doesn’t love it. He’d rather be relaxing, not worrying and having a homebrew. Here’s our Homebrew Hack for Corey and every other homebrewer who would rather spend their time drinking a beer than dumping a fermentor.

Homebrew Hack #3 – Warp Speed Wort Chilling
You thought your immersion chiller was fast? It just got faster.Learn how to chill wort faster than the speed of light with this simple technique.

Homebrew Hack #2 – Drain the Main Grain… Bag that is.
Got a bag of grain to drain? We show you haw to drain the grain bag using a common office supply… the big clip. Got a good way to drain your grain? Post a reply video!

Homebrew Hack #1 – 25 Ways to Open a Bottle…
Hope you enjoy learning a few ways to open a bottle here at Northern Brewer.

Short Pours content worth reading for brewers everywhere
Short Pours Hopped Up & Bitter: So Many Hops, So Little Time...

Hopped Up & Bitter: So Many Hops, So Little Time…

We’ve all Fuggled, Cascaded, Mosaiced, and Summitted. We’ve brewed the basics, become well-acquainted with the likes of Centennial and Cluster. But now, more than ever, is the time to experiment. With new hop varietals coming out every growing season and hop farms popping up like tulips in April, I found myself amidst a bewildering expanse of options, and so settled on four of the newest cultivars to put through the ringer.

It’s a fine spring(!) day when I take 20 ounces of unfamiliar hops-Calypso, Equinox, Waimea, and Jarrylo-a 55 lb. bag of 2-row, and some last minute malts from the kitchen sink. What follows will produce 3 batches of hopped up, sweet gifts of lupulin that push the boundaries of 60,30,15 to their very core.

Eat breakfast, mash in with Calypso. Stomach filled, the aromas of Calypso mashing in, I move right on to heating the strike water for a Waimea session IPA. The popular girl, New Zealand’s Waimea seems to have it all. With classic two-faced character, Waimea is sweet like candy yet packs a punch. With high alpha acid and strong aromas, this cultivar is better than bitter and I can only take her 17+% in the smallest doses as a first wort hop. Even then, I need a beer break to relax before moving on to an Equinox-Jarrylo IPA.

Equinox brings intense aromas of mango, lemon-lime, and green pepper. The strangely fresh, peppery character evokes memories of being young, when everything is new and exciting. Then Jarrylo shows up, boasting tropical fruit, citrus, and spice in overwhelming combination. The dwarf variety somehow makes banana flavors work with tart, biting bitter. During the final two minute additions of the 1.070 IPA, I am pretty excited. The stimulating aromas of Jarrylo work with the pinot noir complexity of Equinox. I’d say it was going to be a close race, but the incredible aroma of Equinox and attractive Jarrylo flavors were in total complement, not competition. I can’t wait for dry hopping day.

I got to know four new characters on Sunday, each with its own merit and exciting prospect. I met unexpected flavors. Hops that add versatility to homebrew. Hops that shine by themselves and provide complexity and nuance as part of a team. This brew day was a crime of passion, forsaking scientific notes for personality. Personality of unique, now familiar hops, perfect for sharing with the unique personalities of friends.


Equinox Hop Pellets for homebrewing

Waimea Hop Pellets

James Jefferson Brewmaster How Hops Ruined My Kitchen

 


Each year, Northern Brewer purchases more hop varieties than any brewery in the world. We carefully source, select and package 60-70 different hop varieties each year. Each hop has its own unique character. They can smell like grass, pine cones, or grapefruit. Some are light and refined, while others are bold and intense. I have personally come to have a deep, olfactory communion with all of the major hop varieties in the world, because I have personally packaged so many packets of hops for my customers. It has been an amazing form of aromatherapy, and it’s my favorite part of my job.

But it’s not enough just to smell the hop in its raw form. Hops change so much depending on how they are used. Even though I’ve been a homebrewer for 20 years, I am still learning about new ways to use hops: early additions, late additions, continuous additions, first wort hopping, mash hopping, hop backing, randallizing, wet hopping, dry hopping… each technique brings out different aspects of a hop.

On top of that, hop breeders are constantly experimenting and introducing new breeds of hops. Every year there are more and more experimental varieties. Many are grown in such limited quantities that the only way to play with them is to do it on a homebrew scale.

So let’s rejoice in hops! Cheers!

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